The Bulletin

Shaun Brown files an appeal to stay on ballot

By: - September 10, 2018 3:57 pm
Independent congressional candidate Shaun Brown outside the John Marshall Courthouse in Richmond on Sept. 5, 2018. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Independent congressional candidate Shaun Brown appears outside the John Marshall Courthouse in Richmond on Sept. 5, 2018. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Shaun Brown, an independent candidate running for Congress in the Second District, is taking her bid to stay on the ballot to the Virginia Supreme Court.

The Democratic Party filed last month to remove Brown, saying her candidacy petitions, which incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Taylor’s staff helped circulate in a scheme to pull voters from Democratic nominee Elaine Luria, were “riddled with fraud.”

Last week, a Richmond Circuit Court judge agreed and ordered Brown off the ballot.

Brown’s lawyers said Monday in a notice of appeal that the judge didn’t have the authority to do that, and the Democratic Party shouldn’t have been able to initiate the civil proceeding.

“Courts cannot take or grant jurisdiction where the legislature or a constitution has not given it,” Brown’s lawyers wrote, quoting a 2007 appeals case. It’s not the court’s job to oversee the Department of Elections, they argued.

The department certified Brown as a candidate after it determined she had met the 1,000-signature threshold to get on the ballot.

Last month, WHRO reported Taylor’s staff collected signatures to get Brown on the ballot. Later, people came forward saying that hadn’t signed the petitions. Others found deceased relatives’ signatures on the petitions.

Brown ran as a Democrat against Taylor in 2016 and lost. She dropped out of the Democratic primary last year amid federal fraud charges and pursued a run as an independent.

A separate criminal investigation into the signature fraud and forgery is being handled by the Roanoke commonwealth’s attorney, but no charges have been filed. 

Brown has asked for an expedited review and stay of the Circuit Court’s opinion, allowing local registrars to print ballots with her name.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.